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First Taste (and Sip!): Corkbuzz Charlotte

New York City wine bar Corkbuzz recently opened its first location outside of New York right here in Charlotte in the SouthPark neighborhood. It’s located in the same development as Whole Foods and adjacent to SouthPark Mall. I typically steer clear of new restaurants for the first couple of months they are open to avoid the crowds and let them iron out their service but one of my friends made reservations for a group of us to try it out on Thursday for a girl’s night.

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Our table was ready when we arrived for our 6:45 p.m. reservation. The place was packed! The interior features a blend of bar seating (the chairs look comfortable), tables and built-in bench/couch like seating with throw pillows.

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Our party of five was seated in a corner table. The restaurant was very loud but we were able to easily chat given the set up of our table.

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We all ordered wine first. They have a small selection of wines by the glass along with a large list of bottles. Given that it’s a “wine studio” I was surprised that there weren’t more bottles available by the glass but they did have a varied selection of varietals for those that were available. The price point on the by the glass was pretty high. The Chappellet Mountain Cuvee that I selected was $15 per glass. I would say the average by the glass cost was around $15 with a few in the $10-12 range and a few closer to $20.

I was pleased to find they offered a full food menu with everything from light bites to appetizers to entrees to charcuterie and cheese. First, because wine and good food go so well together and second, I think it’s pretty important to have a bite to eat to go along with drinks.

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I ordered two appetizers. First, a crab cake topped with a delicious tomato jam.

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And second, a burrata and pea salad. They called this a salad but I would not consider this a salad. Regardless, it tasted great. Burrata has been showing up on more and more menus and I love it. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. It’s similar to fresh mozzarella but even creamier on the inside.

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Two of my girlfriends got the burger and it was all sorts of awesome. Another friend ordered the trout and said it was also really good.

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Things went a little downhill when it came time for dessert. We ordered two desserts to share. The first was a espresso or coffee flavored pot de creme (can’t remember) which was good but the second was just weird. Our waiter recommended this corn and blueberry dessert that featured corn ice cream, custard and meringue. It was served with fresh corn and blueberries. Where do I start? The corn ice cream was hard as a rock and we literally had to chisel into it (it was inside of the meringue shell). In addition to being hard and not creamy like you’d expect ice cream to be, it just didn’t taste good. All of the various textures in this dish did not play well together and the fresh corn on the plate didn’t do anything to help the dish. Several of us agreed it was kind of the worst dessert we’d ordered in a restaurant.

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Here are my overall thoughts:

The Good:

– Our server was personable, patient and attentive. (Like graciously taking this group photo three times.)
– The food was delicious and there was a nice selection to choose from.
– The atmosphere was inviting.
– The seating was cozy.

Considerations:

– The food service was SLOW. I think we waited an hour for our food to come out from the kitchen after placing our order. Like I said, our server was great and quickly brought wine refills, water refills, etc. but the kitchen was clearly backed up. I anticipate this will improve once they get in the groove. They had only been open a little over a week.
– The wine was pretty pricy. Spending $15-$20 a glass is NYC prices, not CLT prices! – It was very loud.
– That corn dessert…

Overall, it was a really fun evening. We’ll give Corkbuzz a pass on the corn dessert. 🙂 I’ll definitely return. It’s a welcome alternative to the Dean & Deluca wine bar but my heart still stays with Foxcroft Wine Co. as my wine bar of choice in Charlotte.

Charlotte locals…favorite wine bar? Have you tried Corbuzz yet?

What is the weirdest dessert you’ve ever ordered at a restaurant?


{ 7 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Cassie June 27, 2015, 11:22 am

    Weird dessert! But overall this place looks nice!

  • 2
    A.J. June 27, 2015, 11:48 am

    Favorite wine bar? IMO Foxcroft for a group, Reid’s for a date. But I’ll try Corkbuzz for sure!

  • 3
    Linda June 27, 2015, 11:57 am

    Hey! I went with my husband and friends on the 3rd night they were open. Like you, I rarely go when new restaurants open, but I’ve been eagerly awaiting this restaurant. If you don’t already know, the owner is one of only 24 female sommeliers in the country. The server was friendly, but slow and almost forgot about us. I agree that the wine by the glass is limited and quite pricey. That said, they were extremely generous in the pours. We ordered a mix of appetizers; the roasted cauliflower was amazing, the salmon crudo and octopus equally as delicious. We also got a delicious caesar salad, while not my usual pick, completely different with a quail egg on top. We are going back tonight so I’ll let you know how it goes! I love Foxcroft as well, but I like that Corkbuzz has a wider selection/variety of the small bites.

  • 4
    Sara @ Oats & Rows June 27, 2015, 12:21 pm

    Once the hype dies down, I’m interested in trying Corkbuzz! I love The Wine Loft in South End. It has a modern feel with low lighting and lounge seating. They have a ton of different wines priced on all ends of the spectrum. They have food as well, but I can’t say much about it. I’ve had their cheese plate and I remember enjoying it. I’d definitely check it out!

  • 5
    Tara June 27, 2015, 3:19 pm

    That dessert sounds all kinds of wrong! I just got back from nyc and can tell u i found tnsbof wine for 12 per glass and under. 20 glass is cray cray.

  • 6
    Julie @ Running in a Skirt June 27, 2015, 6:11 pm

    Sounds like they still have some kinks to work out, but still a good place!
    I’ll have to look iit up when I’m in town.

  • 7
    erin June 29, 2015, 6:30 am

    so glad that you wrote about this place – I was planning on going this week and i’ll make sure not to get the dessert but the burger looked pretty good! glad i’ll have a heads up on what to expect.

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